Posted: 16 Jan. 2018 5 min. read

Regulation 2018: Focus on electronic communications

As electronic communication becomes ever faster and ever easier, and the EU ramps up its Digital Single Market Strategy, 2018 will see a steady stream of regulatory change for Telcos and online services providers beyond the GDPR. Key themes include security, consumer protection and competition management.


We’ve pulled together the headlines on EU and UK developments, as a brief overview of what’s coming up. If you want to know more, please click through here for our background document, including a timeline.  

Upcoming EU regulations 2018

The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2): Telcos must seek an exemption or become authorised by the FCA if they allow customers to charge goods and services to their bills, including premium voice services such as directory enquiries.

Draft E-Privacy Regulation: Intended to align to the GDPR, this has a wide scope across electronic communication services, marketing and website owners.  It includes changes to cookie consents and direct marketing requirements.

Cross-border portability: Providers of online content subscription services will have to ensure the cross-border portability of services within EU member states, whilst free-of-charge providers can also choose to offer portable services provided they comply with the requirements.

Network and Information Security Directive: Market operators that are systemically important to a country, such as the health sector, will have to meet minimum standards for network and information security. Digital service providers will have lighter requirements. Telcos are not affected.

Spectrum co-ordination and 5G rollout: New market entrants may have access to new services and fibre, with broadcasting services maintaining priority for the highest frequencies until 2030.

Click for our background document and timeline

Upcoming EU regulations – beyond 2018

Electronic Communications Code: Sets out framework for national regulators to impose conditions on Telcos and provides for regulation of significant market power.

Cyber Security Package: May introduce an EU-wide cyber security certification scheme.

Consumer Protection Directives: Will not have to be transposed into UK law as they will not come into effect before Brexit, but discrepancies between the UK and EU law may result in increased compliance costs.

Significant Market Power Guidelines Review: Changes to these guidelines may formally incorporate case law, and could have a significant impact on competition within the industry.

Click for our background document and a timeline

Upcoming UK regulations

Investigatory Powers Act 2006 and Codes of Practice: Communications service providers likely to need new technical capability to assist law enforcement authorities.

Digital Economy Act 2017: Penalties from Ofcom for failure to comply with licence commitments, a Universal Service Obligation for broadband and a new Electronic Communications Code.

Drone Bill: Yet to be published, but will mandate use of safety apps for drone users, and introduces licences. May introduce restricted flight zones and automatic blockers within drone GPS transmitters

Click for our background document and a timeline

Regulators’ work programmes

A brief summary of Ofcom’s draft programme and BEREC’s confirmed programme.

Click for our background document and a timeline

Key contact

Ros Baston

Ros Baston


Ros leads our newly-founded Centre for Corporate Regulatory Insight and specialises in making practical sense of untested legislation. Before joining Deloitte, she spent 15 years as a solicitor working at City firms, in-house at a FTSE 250 company and leading an advice and guidance team at a regulator.